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Image courtesy of Petrobras.

Petrobras said Monday it expects to save around $4.5 billion by 2018 after 12 percent of employees agreed to quit under a newly offered early retirement plan.

The company said in a statement 8,298 employees signed up for the plan.

The employee departures are likely to have the largest impact on the company’s older and more experienced workers.

The company said that the program aims to retain knowledge necessary to Petrobras, though not details of the knowledge handover have been announced.

Petrobras said 55 percent of the workers who have agreed to the program will likely leave this year.